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OUR CHILDREN'S EDUCATION! Maria #343 DO 30667/96
1. God bless you! I love you so very much! It thrills me to hear of the wonderful progress you're making and the fruit you're bearing for the Lord. Each one of you is such a valuable part of our Family. Thank you for your faithfulness and obedience to the Lord and His Word!
2. I want to talk to you about a very important subject--the need to properly educate our children! It's very encouraging to hear that many of you are faithfully educating your children, both in the Word and scholastics. Some of you have subscribed to the Christian Light Education (CLE) course. From all I've heard, it's been a real help in the education of our children. God bless Ruthie, Serena, James, Promise and any others involved in pioneering this, doing the research, and being the intermediaries between the CLE company and the Family. You're performing a great service! Others of you are continuing to use the Family curriculum with good success, and still others are using other courses, such as Beka and ACE, or a mixture of various courses.
3. I understand, however, that with the implementation of the Charter and the move toward much smaller Homes, some of you are finding it difficult to make the transition from depending on the more organized schooling that used to be provided by the big combo schools, to being responsible to home school your own children.
4. Apparently, in some Homes it's been very difficult to stay on top of the education of your children. This is due to many different problems: lack of personnel, lack of organization, lack of trained teachers, insufficient time for planning or curriculum prep, financial difficulties, daily emergencies which come up that make it nearly impossible for you to keep a consistent class schedule, etc. Many of you who have larger families are having an especially hard time. I'm very sorry about the hardships you are facing. I am burdened about it and I'm praying for you.
5. Katie (22), who recently joined our Home, described her views concerning the children's education in the Home she lived in previously. Maybe this will sound familiar to you. She said:
6. "From personal experience of about nine years in childcare, I would say that it's just a continual, intense battle to keep up with the children's education, even when that is your 100%, let alone if you are trying to concentrate on many other issues as well. For example, the Home I was in right before coming here was a fairly good situation. There was a major emphasis on following the Charter and the Letters. We had regular prayer and prophecy meetings and discussed the education of our few children quite regularly, but still we didn't maintain what I would consider 'adequate education' for each of our age groups. But it wasn't because we were unaware or unconcerned about the need or the problem. There were just many other emergencies that came up continually, and we gave them priority over the children's education much of the time. Sometimes they were more important and sometimes not, Lord help us. We did make progress over a period of time, but overall it was just a continual fight, and really not easy to keep up with."
7. (Mama:) I understand that you're facing difficult conditions concerning your children's education. It is a continual fight, as Katie said, but I also know there must be a solution! The Charter makes it clear that every child in the Family has a right to an adequate education when it says:
8. "Children under the age of 16 have the right to sufficient time, opportunity and educational materials to receive an adequate education that allows them to become competent in a manner appropriate to their age, ability and aptitude, in the skills of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, sciences, and other curricular subjects, including practical-life skills" (Rights of the Children, 8E, pg.39).
9. The Charter goes on to say that both the parents and the Home are responsible to make sure that this right to education is fulfilled:
10. "Each parent or guardian of children in the Family is responsible to see to it that their children are properly and sufficiently educated scholastically, physically, emotionally and spiritually, on an ongoing basis.
11. "The DO Home shall have regard to the welfare of, and allocate sufficient time for the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical development of its resident children, and provide resources, materials and personnel to fulfill these responsibilities.
12. "The DO Home provides, by whatever means, an adequate education for its resident children by allotting sufficient time, opportunity and educational materials for them to become competent in a manner appropriate to their age, ability and aptitude in the skills of reading, language arts, mathematics, social studies, science, practical-life skills and other curricular subjects" (Responsibilities of Parents, 6D, pg.33; Responsibilities of the DO Home: Regarding Children and Parents, 11A,B, pg.50-51).
13. So as you can see, the children have a right to an adequate education, and the parents and the Homes have a responsibility to provide that education, by whatever means necessary--either home schooling, the use of outside tutors, or by sending the children to outside school. The Charter explains:
14. "As stated in the Rights of the Children, children are entitled to an adequate education; thus the Home is responsible to provide it by whatever means is available to them. Generally Homes will home school their children, which we have found to be the best method for schooling. However, there may be situations where it's not possible to do so, or the Home doesn't feel it has qualified personnel, in which case the parents and the Home could decide to get a private tutor or place the children in an outside secular or religious school" (The Charter, pg.51).
15. In the Fundamental Family Rules there is a whole section devoted to the Scholastic Rules, which include the minimum amount of hours which must be used for educating the children in the Home. This section of the Charter adds:
16. "If the parents or the Home cannot supply an adequate education via home schooling, they may need to consider outside schooling, private tutoring, etc. It is not enough for a Home to supply the minimum school time if it does not result in an adequate education for the children" (The Charter, pg.123).
17. As you can see, the Charter is quite specific about the need to properly educate our children. As it says, we have found that home schooling is the best method of teaching our children, but it is by no means the only way to do it.--And if you parents or Homes can't home school your children, then you are going to have to find another way to do it. The right of your children to have an adequate education has been granted to them in the Charter, but it is up to you and your Home to make it a reality. If you don't, you will not be able to retain your DO status.
18. I read some testimonies from a Home that was having a difficult time teaching their children all the subjects they needed, so they made it a matter of desperate prayer. Then they witnessed to some teachers and student teachers, and were able to provision their help as tutors for the children a few times a week. So if you're having a difficult time keeping up with your children's education, perhaps this is an option for you.
19. One option that doesn't seem to be practiced too much, but that is definitely worth considering, is having two or three Homes work together to educate the children in their Homes. Dad brought up this idea in the Letter "Have A School" when he said, "Let's say you had even two Homes. You could turn one into a school and the other Home could perform the dual services of witnessing and provisioning. Some of the personnel of both Homes could participate in provisioning, and the other Home, the Open Home, in witnessing, etc. The one would be a school Home, and the other could perhaps primarily do both witnessing and provisioning" (ML #2432:2, Vol.18). Perhaps the Homes in your city or area are too far apart for this to be feasible, but if the circumstances are right, this might be the answer you're looking for. (If you have other experiences along these lines or find ways to properly educate your children that work for you, please send them in so we can publish them for all. Thanks!)
20. As you know, the Charter includes the option for you to send your children to outside school. This is an option which most of us have avoided--with good reason--due to the negative influence it usually has on the children. However, if you are not able to adequately educate your children at home, you may need to prayerfully consider this option.
21. Recently, when we were praying about the state of our children and the fact that some Homes have not been devoting enough time, for whatever reason, to educating their children, the Lord spoke to us. We were asking Him about the option of outside schooling for those who are having a hard time giving their children an adequate education, either because they don't feel qualified or can't find the time to do it. Following is my prayer and the Lord's answer:
Children's Education Prophecy!
22. (Mama prays:) Jesus, we have so many things that we need Your answers on, because we don't, in ourselves, have the wisdom to guide Your precious Family. Without You we can do nothing; we know nothing. So we look to You to lead us and to show us Your answers. The question that we have today is in regards to our precious children's education, especially now that so many of them are in small Homes and some are not getting the education that they need.
23. You know that now we're not talking about the spiritual education or Biblical education, which is also vital, but the secular education that they need--the reading, writing, arithmetic and other scholastics. With our large families in small Homes, it's become very difficult for some of them to give their children the education that they need, and to make sure they get the time for those things.
24. Lord, You know this is a problem, and some have been falling down on the job. There's so much to do in running and supporting a Home, and if they're not careful, the Home can allow the education of their children to be pushed aside to the point that it just slips through the cracks and doesn't get done.
25. But on the side of putting our kids into System schools, we have had pages and pages of material that proves to us that a System education is obtained at quite a sacrifice to our children's spiritual lives. The environment and the way the material is taught, with the Devil's lies mixed in with it, is real poison, which perverts children's spirits and weakens them in character and conviction, and is a definite detriment to their spiritual growth.
26. We're not the only ones who recognize how dangerous System schooling is. Millions of parents in the U.S. and elsewhere have taken their kids out of System schools and are educating them at home where they can teach them Godly values.
27. [Note added later: On a couple of occasions Dad did encourage the Family to enroll their kids in outside schools. In the Letter "Are Your Children Becoming One?" (ML #728), Dad talked about sending your children to local schools while on the mission field. And in the Letter "Christian Education" (ML #1039), he talked about sending your children to Christian schools in the U.S. Please bear in mind, however, that that Letter was written in 1981, more than 15 years ago, when the schools, teachers and students in the U.S. were not nearly as bad as they are now.]
28. The preponderance of what Dad wrote warned of the drawbacks of ungodly education, so even the suggestion that we put some of our children into outside schools is very serious and sobering. But we are facing a dilemma, Lord. In some Homes the children are not getting a proper education, and that's dangerous. They need to be able to read, write and do math well for their own sake and future happiness and well-being, as well as that of the Family. On the other hand, if they go to System school to get it, it would also be detrimental, as they would be subjected to System peer pressure, ungodly teachers, teachings and textbooks, and so many other influences that are against Your Word and Your way of doing things. Some of our young people are pretty weak along the lines of conviction and being able to stand up for their beliefs amongst their peers. They have a hard time doing it with their own peers that they live with, let alone ungodly peers that they would encounter in the school system.
29. We need to know what to do. How can we overcome this obstacle, this problem that some of our larger families are now experiencing? It's becoming such a big problem for some. We need Your help. We've said in the Charter that if the parents want to retain their DO status they have to educate their children, but some are having a very difficult time doing so. Do we recommend that they put their children in outside school? Would that be a help?--Or if they were to do that, would the negative effects outweigh the positive?
30. Show us whatever You know is best, whatever You want for Your children, so that they'll be protected and they will get the education they need, and they'll be happy, satisfied and strengthened spiritually while they're doing it. Help us, Lord. We need You so much. We love You tremendously. We need Your wonderful Words to show us the way.
31. (Prophecy, Jesus speaking:) Lovest thou Me? Feed My sheep, My lambs, these precious gifts that I have given unto you, these precious ones that I have entrusted into your care to raise in the nurture and admonition of My Word, of My Truth. For these are My gifts of love to you, these, your precious children. In caring for them, you give them your love. In caring for them, you show your love to Me. For I have given them unto you so that you may care for them, so you may teach them, so you may strengthen them. As you fulfill this commission that I have given you, so do you fulfill My will, and in fulfilling My will, so do you show your love for Me.
32. You are they who I have entrusted these ones to, and it is up to you to do the job that I have given you, the work that I have given you of raising them, of loving them, of teaching them, of training them, of giving them My Truth. What a work this is! What a sacrifice this is! But what great rewards you are given, both in this life and in the life to come!--The rewards of seeing them grow, the rewards of the love that they bestow upon you, the rewards as you see the fruits of your labors. For you invest your life into these, your loved ones, your darlings, your children. You invest your love, you invest your sample, you invest your care, you invest your discipline, you invest your knowledge and wisdom, and you reap the rewards in the lives of these, your young ones.
33. So be wise investors, pouring into them all that they need, even though it is a sacrifice of time and of energy, of scheduling. It is the laying down of your life for the lives of others, for the lives of these, your children. Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for others.
34. You must teach and train these, your young ones. You must teach and train them in My Word, in the Truth. You must impart unto them the Word of God, the Love of God, the understanding of God. You must raise and nurture them in great love, so that they will know My Love. But you must also give them wisdom and knowledge, so that they will have the tools to do the job.
35. Though it is a sacrifice to take the time to give them that which they need--the education in the Spirit and the education of the mind--these things must be done. For if they are not done, you do not fulfill the commission that I have given you.
36. No matter how you choose to impart knowledge unto your children, it is a sacrifice. If you take the time to pour into them, to teach them and to educate them, it is a sacrifice of your time, for it requires strength, time, effort, energy and love! It is a sacrifice to give of yourself to do this.
37. If you choose to let others [outsiders] educate your children, it is also a sacrifice. Though you do not sacrifice so much time in teaching them, you do sacrifice your time in the shepherding you must give, and you sacrifice in the weaknesses that it causes, as your children mix with the ungodly. So either way, there is a sacrifice. Either way, there is some loss.
38. You must decide which sacrifice you wish to make. Will you sacrifice the time and the energy to teach them? Or will you sacrifice the time and the energy to help them overcome their problems and the negative influences?
39. Know this, that these, My gifts to you, are your responsibility, and you must teach them, you must educate them. You must give them that which they need, not just because it is required, but because they have need of these things. If you do not teach them, if you do not train them, if you do not educate both mind and spirit, you will pay. You will pay in resentfulness, or you will pay by intrusion, or you will pay by the lack of blessings. For you are given this commission to teach and train and to raise these, the gifts that I have given you, and you must pour into them and give them that which they need. So hold not back! Fulfill your commission, so that you will receive the blessings of God! (End of prophecy.)
40. (Mama:) The dictionary defines intrusion as: 1. The act of intruding or the condition of being intruded on. 2. An inappropriate or unwelcome addition. This word can be applied two ways: The first way is the meaning portrayed in the above paragraph, that if you don't give your children what they need, if you don't teach them, train them, and educate them both in mind and spirit, you may have an unwelcome intrusion by the System in the form of persecution for not properly caring for your children. The second application of the word "intrusion" is something the Lord warns about earlier in the above prophecy, that if you send your children to System school but you don't shepherd them properly, you will have to contend with the intrusion of System influence in their lives.
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41. The Lord has put before you a very serious decision regarding the educational needs of your children: You can choose to teach your children at home, either by doing it yourself or having a teacher come in, or send them to outside school. Both of these options will require sacrifice on your part, as in either case you will need to give of your time, strength, energy, effort and love to make sure your children's needs are being met. You'll either need to sacrifice your time and strength to provide the required academic training through home schooling your children yourself, or putting forth the effort to find and possibly pay for a tutor, or you'll have to sacrifice your time and strength to provide the extra shepherding that will be needed if your children go to outside schools.
42. If you do send your kids to System school, you should try to send them to a private Christian school if you can, rather than a public school, although in some Third World countries public schools may be fine. Private schools are often quite expensive, but if you can't afford the tuition, you could try provisioning it. Francis was telling me how his parents provisioned a total of six years free tuition for him and his brother and sister from the top private school in a French province, and others have probably had similar experiences. So it can be done!
43. If you are having trouble giving your children the academic training they need, please pray desperately to find the Lord's will for your personal situation. You can't continue being delinquent in supplying your children's educational needs, but neither should you make a quick, unprayerful decision to send your children to outside school. This is a very important decision that will have a considerable impact on your children's lives! So please seek the Lord and employ the seven ways to find His will, which includes hearing from Him in prophecy about what you should do. He knows what's best and He can lead you to a workable, fruitful solution. (Any teens or even adults considering outside schooling should also seek the Lord and hear from Him in prophecy before making their decision, of course.)
Concerns Expressed by the Young People in Our Home
44. When preparing this GN for publication, I asked the three young women who recently joined our Home to read it. Though they come from varied backgrounds and had different personal experiences concerning how they were educated in the Family, all three of them were quite saddened by the idea of our kids attending outside schools. They didn't discuss the GN together, but their reactions were rather similar, which seems to indicate that many of you YAs and maybe senior teens might also feel the same way they do. Here are excerpts of their reactions:
From Katie (22):
45. "The option of sending our children to System schools is such a huge subject! I personally feel quite strongly against it, because I have seen firsthand the detrimental effects that it has in some cases. The way I see it is, if the parents or Home members are not able to find the time to teach the children scholastically now, how much less are they going to have time to help them with their homework, plus the personal time, strength, fighting spirit, prayer time, etc., needed to help the kids cope spiritually if they send them to System school?--Especially when in some cases the negative influence is not very obvious at first, and the parents might not even notice it.
46. "Even if they put them in real 'good' schools, there is just so much all around them in that environment that goes against our heritage as a Family--living full-time for the Lord, what we believe about communal living, being separate from the world, etc. Plus, they'll also have to fight the churchy attitudes, materialism, etc. So I don't see how the parents could possibly 'put back in' the good as fast as it is nullified.
47. "I guess my perspective is a bit one-sided, having spent the last few years trying to help the Homes in our area overcome these very things that our Family members, and especially children and young people, pick up from the System just from being out witnessing, so I can't even imagine what it would do to multiply the System influence by having the children attending outside schools."
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From Yvonna (19):
48. "What makes us different than the System?--Our children, and the way we raise our children! Lots of people witness, but we have a vision for the future, that our children are going to be the leaders of the future, and we've got to pour into them as such. Just think if our parents wouldn't have poured into us YAs and SGAs both spiritually and educationally. The YAs and SGAs of today are the kids of yesterday who somebody had enough faith and sacrifice to teach and pour into!
49. "In my family, when we were young, my dad took us kids out with him everywhere he went, doing business, witnessing, etc. He taught us how to read maps, how to get around, how to buy stuff. He was a teacher, and he turned everything he could think of into school, because he said we would need it someday. And am I ever glad he did! Maybe some in the Family have some misimpression that scholastics and education is only textbook time, but there's so much more that can be done to teach the kids by involving them in our daily activities. It's so worth the extra time.
50. "I wasn't deprived. I saw plenty of videos, had plenty of playtime, but we were also involved in our parents' mail ministry, witnessing, business, shopping, Home Word time, etc. Through common things like that we learned all the academic basics and more, without even hardly realizing when we were being 'taught.'
51. "I've done childcare as my full-time ministry for years, and I have wept many times when thinking about and praying for our children. Of course, it's a sacrifice to train them, and it's a sacrifice to pour into them, but someone had to pour into us. The children are, as Dad has said, our future.
52. "On the other side of the coin, there are a lot of schools in foreign countries that are not as polluted as the U.S. schools, and which offer a great way to learn the language and receive very good scholastic education. Even some Christian schools in the U.S. may offer superior scholastic education to most of our Homes. But there are many wonderful home schooling materials. Some may find the CLE expensive, but there are quite a few other correspondence courses available, which need to be prayerfully evaluated. [See FSM 277.]"
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From Jenna (21):
53. "It's a bit surprising to me that this GN brings up so freely the option of sending our kids to public school. I know that rain or shine, our children deserve an education. I think they deserve the best they can get, not one that just scrapes the bottom of the barrel. It's very obvious, to me at least, that the best education for a child is obtained through home schooling. So it almost goes against my grain to have this avenue of System school offered so freely, because, as a general rule, for many years we highly discouraged sending our Family children to public schools.
54. "On the other side of the coin, however, my dad and my second mom have recently enrolled five of their kids in public school. The two youngest also attend a church daycare. My 16-year-old brother, who works, still schools himself at home. I was wondering what effect this was having on them, and how they've been doing. Granted, public schools vary immensely in their physical standard, standard of education, quality and dedication of the teachers, etc. In their case, however, when I recently went to visit them, I was pleasantly surprised to find that my brothers and sisters were doing very well in school, and the school that they are going to is a pretty good school.
55. "Sad to say, in my opinion, these same kids, while in the Family, didn't get their educational needs entirely met, and I believe this caused them problems, both behavioral and spiritual. When I visited them, I saw that the younger ones are actually quite happy, fulfilled and challenged in their learning, in a way that they hadn't been during school times in the Family.
56. "It was a bit heartbreaking to see that they weren't able to be satisfied and fulfilled with Family schooling and they had to be put in a System school to find that fulfillment and to be able to learn as they needed to. I know this is not the fault of any individuals in the Family, and our teachers and parents try to do their best. It's just that they're swamped, overloaded, and it's simply a monumental job. So while sending your kids to System school may not be the ideal, it showed me that the education of our children most certainly makes a difference, not only in the knowledge they acquire, but in their happiness and general deportment.
57. "I attended public school for several years in a number of different countries. My personal experience was a good one, although I must add that my parents didn't have eight or nine children at that time, so they were able to spend more time with us older ones, helping us through things, and also devoting the rest of our non-school hours to witnessing, litnessing, busking, etc. For these and other reasons, perhaps System school didn't seem to take so great a toll on us.
58. "While the above may sound like a testimony to the pros of System school, and I'm sure there are advantages, I still feel hesitant and even saddened by the thought of us throwing away the years of hard work we've spent in training our children and home schooling them. That's what we believe, and to me it seems like since we're some of the few people in the world who have so much good to pour into our children, why would we send them to others to receive their input?
59. "Maybe home schooling is just the ideal, and we can't live the ideal. I have been in Homes where I wanted nothing more than to send the kids off to school, in the hopes of their getting a better education, and in order to free the adults and young people to witness and raise funds, in the hopes of being able to relieve some of the home-life burdens.
60. "In the 'Children's Education' prophecy, it explains that we have two options: either to school our children at home and pay the sacrifice of our time and efforts in schooling and caring for them, or to send them to outside schools and make up the difference in the time that you must invest in helping them overcome the problems and negative influences they pick up while there.
61. "From what I've seen, once people, and certainly children even more so, are exposed to very negative influences, System attitudes, and so on, it's much harder for them to get over it. Granted, it's possible, and in some cases, depending on your children and the quality of the school they attend, it might be worth it; and like the example I gave above of my brothers and sisters, it could work out all right. Still, I think you run a risk in doing so, because I think it puts you and your children at a spiritual disadvantage.
62. "It doesn't sound so realistic to me that our busy parents and other Home members are going to have the needed time to pour into all these kids coming home from System school with a myriad of problems and areas that need attention in their lives. They already need attention, and it's such a struggle for our poor parents to try to meet the needs of their seven or eight children. Getting personal time on the field is a struggle, so how much more would it be for large families to try to cope with spending more individualized time with one, two or three of their children who need help, extra cleansing from the Word, etc., because of the bad habits or attitudes they've picked up while at school.
63. "Additionally, with children going to school, a lot of what they absorb isn't going to show up immediately, so you've got to have a real close link with them. You've got to preempt the negative, before it grows and takes root in their heart. But if you can hardly manage parent time already, I foresee it being very difficult for parents to keep on top of each child's life if they choose to expose them to System school.
64. "My mom is a single mother with seven children (who now lives separately from my dad and his second wife). She only has five children with her presently, but it's very difficult for her to try to keep up with everything that's going on in their lives, because she's so busy attending to the daily demands of the Home. The kids have their problems, as all kids do, and she just isn't able to devote as much time to them as she would like to, and she's burdened about it. She does the best she can, but in some cases, it just might not be enough for a little kid who really needs help at a certain moment in his or her life. So if I think of some of my younger brothers or sisters going to school and absorbing more System attitudes and values than what they already pick up from the world around them, I can't imagine how my mom, or any other parent for that matter, would have the time, strength or energy to try to keep them on the straight and narrow on a day-to-day basis. I think it would be simply overwhelming.
65. "You'd think that while the kids are away at school, this would give the parents more time for spiritual shepherding and pouring into the kids. However, the children who will benefit from this supposed 'extra time' are the young children who remain at home during school hours. Then when the kids come home from school, even if they need extra shepherding, the few hours they have in the evening will most likely be spent having dinner, parent time (with all their brothers and sisters), doing homework and getting ready for bed and for the next day of school. So in my opinion, it will be quite a feat to squeeze in the personal shepherding, Word time and the one-on-one time needed for the kids attending outside school."
66. (Mama:) Obviously, we are facing a very complex problem. Upon hearing the concerns of these young people and seeing that they still had a lot of questions or worries even after reading the above prophecy, I felt led to ask the Lord for more information. I needed to know if He had anything more to say to you parents about your choices of home schooling, tutors and System schools. I especially wanted to know how to present the different options, keeping each one in proper perspective.
67. I faced a little dilemma because I know there are negative repercussions when sending our kids to System schools, and I wanted to warn you specifically of those dangers. But at the same time I didn't want to weight this counsel too much one way or the other, so that you would be able to feel free to do as the Lord leads you without feeling stigmatized. The Lord very sweetly allowed Dad to speak to me in answer to my questions, and below is his message:
Counsel from Dad on Educating Our Children!
68. (Dad speaking:) Honey, educating our children is such a big subject, because children have so many needs! They're growing up so fast, they're so hungry to learn. They're like sponges, and they need so much input and training and challenge, both spiritually, emotionally and intellectually. Especially our children, because the Lord has gifted them with great curiosity and a great desire to learn, so they need so much attention and care and input. They need to be fed in every way. They need it, they deserve it, and it's their right as His children to have their needs met--not only physically and spiritually, but also intellectually.
69. Schooling is such a big subject! I oughtta know, 'cause I've raised a lot of kids, and I was a teacher for many, many years--and still am! I know what it costs to teach kids, and of course, the best environment for our kids to learn is at home and while witnessing, and while taking care of the affairs of the Kingdom. That's the best, that's the ideal environment, if it's possible.
70. Of course we would prefer that our kids be taught by loving members of our Family, who believe as we believe, and have the same goals, desires, standards and beliefs as we do. Of course we want them to be taught and raised in an atmosphere of love and faith. That's the ideal.
71. All the older folks and the YAs and the teens can pour into the children, with each of them giving to the children from their reservoir of knowledge and experience, each one excelling in their own particular calling or ministry or point of expertise. Everybody in the Family has so much to give to our children. Everybody can be a teacher! Everybody can pour out and exhort and teach and train and share all that they know and have experienced while serving the Lord.
72. Schooling and teaching and training our children goes on all the time. They're not just learning when they sit down at their desk for formal schooling, but they're learning and being taught no matter what they're doing--whether it's their ministries around the house, or their witnessing experiences, or their Word classes, or the time they're being taught their academic subjects. Everything is part of their training and their schooling. That's the beauty of home schooling. And anybody who's really good at it knows how to take all of their experiences and all of their duties and turn them into a time of learning.
73. So of course home schooling is the ideal, because you can really redeem the time, you can really make everything count, and you can surround the children in a bubble of love and faith, with the minimum of negative influence. So under most circumstances, teaching our children at home and keeping them out of godless System schools is the best, it's the ideal, it's the preferred choice.
74. But, Honey, you know and I know and a lot of people in the Family know that that's just not possible right now for a lot of people. Some people either don't have the time or the strength or the manpower or personnel to teach all their children everything they need to know. And if that's the case, then parents just need to do the best they can, and really trust the Lord.
75. If parents feel that they need to put their kids in System school so that they get the academic training they need, at least for a little while, well, that's their decision and that's their right under the Charter. But it's also their responsibility to pray for their children, to feed them spiritually, and to keep a good check on how they are progressing and how they're doing and whether it's bearing good or bad fruit. They're going to need to be in touch with their kids and stay in good communication, and if going to System school starts bearing more bad fruit than good fruit, then they're going to have to re-evaluate and take stock of their decisions. They may just have to pull their kids out of System school, or find a better school, with better teachers and better kids.
76. Whether parents put their kids in System school or not, the Lord will still hold them responsible for their kids' training. It's a serious decision to put your kids in System school, and our parents are going to need to desperately pray about it and hear from the Lord and make sure it's His will and His plan before they do it.
77. But if they feel that's the only way for their kids to get the education that they need, and if they have the faith for it and they feel that the Lord is really leading them that way, then I'm certainly not going to criticize them for it. But I'm just warning them that they need to really pray and stay in good communication with their kids. And they're going to have to be willing to take the time to undo some of the damage that will come as a result of the kids being taught and trained and fed by people who aren't in the Family. Even if the kids go to Christian schools and private schools, there's going to be plenty of bad influence and wrong doctrines and System ideals that are going to need to be checked by the adults, and purged out by reading plenty of Word and having good talk times, personal time and heart to heart communication.
78. Parents who choose to put their kids in System school are going to have to watch carefully for signs that will show how their kids are doing. If they start to see rebelliousness or lack of interest in the Word, or lack of a desire to witness, or lack of unity with their brothers and sisters, or too much attention to and interest in clothes and fashion, System music, etc., then all these things will need to be addressed and discussed and prayed about. [And if your children already have these weaknesses, it would be good to go on the attack and strengthen them beforehand, if possible, as the environment of outside schools could just fuel the problems and send them downhill real fast.]
79. Oh, I can't begin to tell you how complex it is once you start putting your kids in System school. It can be a great blessing on one hand, but a great curse on the other. So if our parents feel led to put their kids in System schools, they're going to have to be so desperate and so prayerful. It's not a decision to be made lightly, but it must be made in faith.
80. But parents must be allowed to make that decision by faith, and not be stigmatized or criticized because of it. If that's how they feel the Lord is leading them, and they've really prayed about it and heard from Him about it, then they should be allowed to proceed by faith, without condemnation or without feeling like they're missing the mark somehow.
81. The Lord holds the parents responsible for their children's care and education--the parents and the Home in which they live. So if that's how they feel led and they have the faith for it and they're willing to make that decision, then you need to support them in it, pray for them and hope for the best. I'm not saying it won't certainly be without sacrifice and some bad fruit and some detriment, but we can only hope that the good fruit outweighs the bad, and that the parents do their part in shepherding and feeding their kids the Word, and they don't fall down on the job and expect System schools to do it all.
82. Academic education is only a small part of what children need. They need so, so much more! Like I've always said, the job of a parent is the most sacrificial, difficult ministry there is. It costs everything to be a good parent! You have to die to yourself and lay down your life day after day after day. Sometimes the rewards seem hidden and the problems overwhelming, but you just have to keep being faithful, keep pouring out, keep loving and praying and supporting and encouraging your children, keep following the Lord and trusting Him, and accepting that "God's gift is God's work." Sending your kids to System school may take care of one part of their education, their need for academics, but it certainly doesn't take care of all of their education. And System school most definitely doesn't take the place of the love and training that those kids need to get from you--their parents!
83. People's situations are different, and everybody has to make their own decision according to their own faith, and according to the circumstances in which they live. So many factors would affect somebody's decision as to whether or not to put their children in System school. It may depend on where they live, or how many children they have, or whether they're single parents. It may depend on what schools are available and what kind of teachers and students those schools have. There may be other good benefits of System schools, such as learning the local language, learning responsibility and dependability, learning to study and keep deadlines and be accountable for your actions.
84. So, Honey, there are lots of reasons why the Lord may lead some of our Family members to put their kids in System school, at least for a time. I don't think it should be very widespread, but I can see some instances where it would be a need and even a blessing. But this is a choice and decision that you'll have to leave with the individuals and with the Homes. They're responsible for the care of their children, so they'll have to be responsible for this decision. And if they choose to send their kids to System school, they'll have to be responsible for the consequences.
85. You just never know, Honey. The circumstances and situations are too varied to be able to make a blanket rule that would be appropriate for all families. So that's why it's wise for the Lord and you to leave this decision in the hands of the individuals and their Homes. People shouldn't feel stigmatized if they've sincerely, desperately prayed and gotten the mind of the Lord and they're following Him. If they have faith, they should have faith before the Lord and not worry about what other people think. And our Family shouldn't be critical or condemning of those who choose or feel led to put their children in System school. But everyone should certainly be in the fear of the Lord, and they shouldn't take such a decision lightly. Such a decision should only be made with desperate prayer and counseling and lots of investigation, and finally with getting a clear confirmation from the Lord in prophecy.
86. If people feel the need for help with their children, if they just can't handle all of the children along with all their other responsibilities, for whatever reason--be it lack of faith, lack of personnel, lack of organization, lack of time, or lack of finances--if they really seek the Lord and He leads them to put their children in System school, then I will not condemn them. If that's the way they feel led of the Lord after really seeking Him desperately and crying out to Him for His leading and guidance, then who am I to criticize or condemn them? Or who are you to criticize or condemn them? It's their decision before the Lord, and they will be held responsible.
87. One last word of caution: I certainly wouldn't recommend any of our families putting any of our dear, innocent, sweet children into the godless, dangerous, violent, drug-ridden schools of the big inner cities of America. Those schools have become like war zones; they're extremely dangerous! And I don't see how on God's Earth putting our beautiful, precious children into those kinds of schools could possibly bear good fruit! It's just like sacrificing your children to the Devil and his people when you put your kids in those God-forsaken System schools in those big, evil cities of America, where drugs and gangs and violence and every evil thing is rampant!
88. So if our parents are seriously considering putting their kids in System school, they'd better realize that not all System schools are the same, and they'd better be wise in their choice; otherwise they could be foolishly throwing their kids to the Devil! No one in their right mind would put their kids in a public school in the evil, wicked, dirty inner cities of America, where there is nothing but drugs and crime and unqualified teachers who can't even keep control of their classes. Even the little education the kids could get at home would be better than having them educated in that hell on Earth!
89. There's a big difference between a small private school run by sincere, dedicated Christians, or even a Catholic school in the Third World, when compared to the evil jungles they call schools in the big cities of America! (End of prophecy excerpts.)
The Choice Is Yours!
90. (Mama:) So there you have it, folks! I believe that by prayerfully studying these messages from the Lord and Dad, you will have a pretty clear picture of what your options are and what your responsibilities are, so you can make prayerful, wise, well-balanced decisions. I can only give you the principles, the guidelines, the Godly counsel and the options, and now you'll have to live and operate according to your own faith.
91. I want to make it perfectly clear that this is a personal decision, and I pray you feel free to make your own choice before the Lord. You are the ones who are responsible, and I hope you know that you have the freedom to do what you feel is best for your kids. You are the ones who are going to have to give account before the Lord for how you raise your children.
92. Now that I have passed on the Lord's and Dad's counsel, I put this decision firmly and squarely in your hands. You must go according to your own faith and circumstances, but don't forget you also need to operate in counsel and agreement with those in your Home. As it says in the Charter:
93. "The decision [to get a private tutor or place the children in an outside secular or religious school] belongs to the parents, but the Home must be in agreement, in accordance with the Home Life Rules in the 'Fundamental Family Rules.' If the Home is not in agreement, the parents, of course, can use their Right of Mobility to remedy the situation" (Responsibilities of the DO Home: Regarding Children and Parents, 11B, pg.51).
94. "The Home decides, by a two-thirds majority, if any of its children, teens or adults may attend outside schools or engage in outside classes, who may do so, and what schools or classes may be attended.
95. "Similar to the situation with adults getting outside employment, the 'Charter of Responsibilities and Rights' does not specifically prohibit children attending System school, so it is generally allowed. We are not recommending it, but it's not forbidden. Since such a decision affects the Home, it will be the Home that decides, by two-thirds majority, if they will allow any of their children to attend outside schools. The voting members should also discuss and decide which children should go to an outside school and what kind of situation is acceptable. Remember, if you want to send your children to a certain school and the Home doesn't want you to, the Home's decision prevails; but you can seek out another Home or start your own if you don't want to abide by the decisions of the Home you are in.
96. "Some of the teens or adults may want to attend a night class on some subject that would be helpful to their ministry. If the Home is in agreement with the plan and the subjects, they can vote to allow it" (Home Life Rules, 9J, pg.132-133).
97. There are so many variables in our different families around the world that each case has to be decided on its own merits. I trust that you'll be seeking the Lord and praying, and that you'll do what you honestly feel is best for your kids in your situation, and what you feel the Lord is leading you to do. The main point is that your children need to get an adequate education, whether they're schooled at home or elsewhere. No one should look down on anyone else, or criticize or condemn anyone else, but you should pray for one another, and especially pray for the children.
98. For those of you who choose to have your children attend outside schools, I suggest that you periodically re-evaluate your decision. Dad said it's your responsibility to pray for your children, to feed them spiritually, and to keep a good check on how they are progressing and how they're doing and whether their going to outside school is bearing good or bad fruit. If it's bearing good fruit, fine. But he says if it starts bearing more bad fruit than good fruit, then you're going to have to re-evaluate and take stock of your decisions, and you may just have to pull your kids out of System school and resume home schooling, or find a better school, with better teachers and better students.
Suggested Reading List
99. I am including below a list of several Letters or excerpts of Letters and other pubs on the subject of home schooling and System schools that you can read and pray about concerning the education of your children. If you feel you need to re-evaluate your present set-up concerning your children's education, please consider not only the counsel in this GN, but also that in the following Letters and pubs. But if your children are happy with your present program and their education is progressing well, then you should not at all feel that you need to change it! Just continue doing what you're doing, if it's working well! But in that case, you may still find some of the following Letters feeding and helpful.
A. Benefits of System School:
--Are Your Children Becoming One? (ML #728; Vol.6).
--Christian Education (ML #1039:28-31, 36-38, 42b-75; Vol.9).
B. Dangers of System School:
--Children in the World (ML #780; Vol.6 or DB1).
--The Appeal of the World on Our Teens (ML #2462:1-7, 14-20; Vol.18).
--Relating to the System! (ML #2545:34-36; GN 390).
--The Devil's Challenge to Our Garden of Eden! (ML #2526:31-45, 71-92; GN 384).
--A Caution Not to Compromise! (ML #2968; GN 626).
--Why Christian Children Should Be Kept Out of Public Schools! (Raise 'em Right).
C. Benefits of Home Schooling:
--The Advantages of Having Children (ML #688:17-58; Vol.5).
--Answers to Your Questions (ML #1643:147; GN Book 16).
--Have a School! (ML #2432:54-68, 81-86, 89-95, 97-99; Vol.18).
--Home Schooling--Tried and Proven! (Raise 'em Right).
--Educating Our Children--Finding the Balance (FSM 263).
--12 Important Reasons for Home Schooling (Home Educator #1).
--Correspondence Corner (Home Educator #2).
--Christ-centered, Bible-based Education (Family Policy Statement).
--Advantages of Our Family Education (Family Policy Statement).
Testimony from Maggie in Japan
100. (Mama:)Below is an interesting testimony sent in by Maggie (a single mother of four) in Japan. She's explaining how her Home decided to have some of their children attend a local Japanese school. Maggie reports:
101. "We have moved to a different part of Tokyo. It's a lot different than where we lived before, which was very close to the big high-rise section of the city, where there were quite a lot of foreigners. In our new location there are only about 40 white-skinned people in this whole area, and any other foreigners are Chinese, with a sprinkling of Filipinos and Koreans. I haven't had people react to me like this for 15 years or so. It's back to the old 'movie star reaction,' where they almost stop in the street, and certainly all stare--albeit ever so discreetly! Ha!
102. "One of the main goals for our new Home is that it's totally Japanese-speaking. My kids and I live with Japanese Paul and Dorcas and their soon-to-be 11 children--the eldest of whom is 15! But even though their children are Japanese and look like everyone else, they hardly speak any Japanese. Neither do my kids.
103. "We have tried all sorts of things over the years to teach our kids the local language, but our separation from the Japanese people and the kids' inability to communicate or even really witness to people has started to become more and more of a reproach. The need to teach the language to our children and learn it ourselves has been one of the key agenda points for many of the meetings we've had over the years, going all the way back to the days of GAFMs and NAFMs. The problem just doesn't seem to be solved, though, so since the Charter, a lot of us have been seriously praying about taking the leap to put our kids in outside schools.
104. "When praying about this, Paul and I went to the three main primary schools in our new area and spoke with the principals and key teachers, all the time praying the Lord would give us clear leading and discernment. They actually had a program especially for Japanese kids returning from living overseas, whereby the child could be taken out of a difficult language class and be taught Japanese at their own level for an hour a day. This seemed to be ideal, although we were concerned about the kids in the first two schools as they seemed pretty rowdy and the principals appeared rather weak.
105. "But when we finally went to the third school--the one closest to us--we were both very impressed by the spirit of the principal, the staff and the kids. The kids were friendly, courteous and playful, and the principal showed very unusual tolerance, understanding and openness. She's a real educator and had a burden to see that if the kids joined her school, they wouldn't feel pressured scholastically, but they'd first of all learn to feel comfortable and to feel that learning Japanese is fun. She recognized that they'd learn at least as much Japanese from their playmates as from their teachers.
106. "We went home and heard from the Lord and He gave some beautiful prophecies about how He'd prepared this place for many years. He said He had prepared the staff and ordained this principal with a real gift of understanding and love.
107. "Our kids decided to take the leap, even though it was a bit scary. You should have seen the teachers the day they were introduced to their new students! They were almost like Family folks in their warmth, affection, love and encouragement as they walked with their new little student to take them to their new class! My daughter Mari-chan and my twin boys had kids throughout the school (three buildings, three floors high) leaning out the windows smiling and waving and calling out to them, as they have never had foreigners there before! It was almost overwhelming, but after the first half hour or so, they settled in and were very brave.
108. "They come home each night really happy and challenged, and with tons of homework to keep mommy on her toes!
109. "Paul and I didn't get to bed till 4:00 the first night as we'd totally underestimated the details the school needed in their forms! These guys almost give the Lord stiff competition for knowing details down to the level of 'every hair of your head is numbered!'
110. "One reason why I feel it's been so difficult to learn Japanese is that it's so tied in with the culture. In other words, when we try to teach the children in the Home, they are learning in an English-Western environment and there's no way we would need to say, 'I stand in fear before you. Could I have an envelope please?' or 'I'm being so incredibly rude to disturb you' when we reach for the salt. Ha! Whereas in this school, in the total environment of Japanese relations with each other and with their teachers, the kids will learn the language as it only really works--in context with Japanese culture.
111. "So our kids have all jumped in, and only one teacher speaks a few words of English. Because I can speak and read Japanese, the others write me notes each night (in Japanese) about what the children are to bring the next day. They aren't pushy about the children needing vaccinations. They are actually very respectful. For example, we explained our beliefs about unclean foods, so the kids can just use their chopsticks to put aside the shrimp and such, and it's all very accepted.
112. "I have been thinking of what Dad wrote about the contrast between American schools and more Godly Third World schools, and to me this is almost the ultimate of a Godly, sweet environment. Of course, each evening we need to undo the evolution and other wrong input, which is inevitable, but I'm very thankful for all the good they are putting into the kids, the care they are extending to them, and the genuine concern that they don't feel ostracized, but instead fit in and feel comfortable.
113. "Even though it's a free public school, there have been some basic expenses, which the teachers have tried to cut to a real minimum for us. But it's working out about $500 per child! Quite a challenge for a new pioneer Home with six kids in school and two teens going to night school. We don't know how long we'll keep them in; we'll just keep praying it through step by step."
114. (Mama:) I thought this testimony of Maggie's was a good confirmation of what Dad said in the above message when he specifically mentioned how one of the benefits of our children attending local schools is to learn the local language. This is a very valid reason to consider outside schooling, especially in a country where it is a very poor testimony for national children in particular to not speak, read and write their native language well. We have heard other testimonies as well where families had their children attend outside schools for a limited amount of time in order to help them learn the local language. This has proven to be successful in other countries where the local language is extremely difficult, such as Thailand.
115. The Family in Thailand arranged for a Family teacher to accompany each age group. This way the Family teachers were able to monitor the input the kids received, and were therefore in a much better position to discuss questionable situations with the children after school. The public school teachers also visited the Home, where they saw and were given an explanation of Family schooling. Also, the Family teachers benefited from observing the public school teachers in action, so it was a two-way street. This approach involved more time and work for the Family, not less, but it bore the desired results.
116. Maggie's situation is also a good example of how the Lord said if you choose to have your children attend outside schools, then you must be willing to invest the time needed to shepherd them, because they will inevitably be affected by unwanted System influence. You probably noticed that Maggie commented that "each evening we need to undo the evolution and other wrong input." It's also good to note that it's rather time-consuming for her, since she mentioned that the children come home each night "with tons of homework to keep mommy on her toes." In a sense, Maggie is continuing to home school her children in academics to some extent through her tutoring them in their homework. Taking all this into consideration, this is a good illustration of how when children attend outside schools, even under very good conditions, they still need shepherding and help.
117. Also along these lines, Toby (22), who recently joined WS, commented:
118. "I went to Catholic school in France and it was a very good school, although a little bit on the strict side by my estimation. Then I went to a public school in the U.S. which was pretty awful. I also went to a Seventh-day Adventist school in the U.S. which was very good, as well as a Christian school in England which was very good too. The kids at those schools, with the exception of the public school, were quite good as well.
119. "The main detriment in these situations was not my actual time at the Christian schools themselves. I knew I was superior to the rest of the children there because of my Family upbringing and knowledge of the Scripture, which the teachers were quick to recognize and praise compared to the other children who didn't know much at all. But the problem in my case arose during the time I went to and from school on my own with no supervision. During that time I would get into all kinds of mischief along the way, eating junk food, wandering around, etc. But these were not problems that were due to the school itself, but more to the poor supervision that I was receiving at the time."
120. Maggie also mentions, "We explained our beliefs about unclean foods, so the kids can just use their chopsticks to put aside the shrimp and such." That reminds me of a comment Francis made when reading this GN. He went to school for four years in France when he was young, including three years of junior high school. He said:
121. "If some of our kids go to System school, I think it's important for the parents to instill in the children a real pride in their heritage, so to speak, and the fact that they're missionaries in the Family. Then, being different from everyone else is not that big of a problem. For example, I've read in different news articles about Sikh kids who go to school and have to wear certain clothing, including this little dagger that they carry, that has to do with their religion. Muslim students I knew in France would fast during the 40 days of Ramadan. Because the parents have taught them to be proud of their heritage, the children themselves carry that pride in a good way when they go to school. It's a good kind of pride. So rather than being worried about being different, they're proud of being different. Then when the other children see that, they respect them for their convictions.
122. "When I went to school, while I had my problems, I had very strong convictions against evolution because of what we were taught in the Letters. I would stand up to the teacher and say what I thought, and I'd stand up to the other students. Everybody respected me because of the convictions that I had, and it made me almost feel superior in a way, which maybe wasn't so good in that it ministered to my pride, but at least it didn't make me feel inferior or that I had to conform and be the same as everybody else."
From Sharon on Home Schooling
123. (Mama:) Below is a reaction from Sharon (Sara D.) regarding the "Children's Education" prophecy, the CLE, and home schooling in our Family Homes. Sharon reports:
124. "I'm especially thankful for the CLE program, and the reactions I have read from those who have used it have been very positive! My girls tell me how much they like their CLE schooling and what scores they made on their tests. They have discovered what they are best at in their schooling and they are personally encouraged by that, even pleasantly surprised, and they're testifying of it.
125. "I believe the reason this type of schooling is so effective is not the curriculum itself, but because it is structured learning so that the kids make and see their own progress. They can work and learn at their own pace, and they are not so dependent on teachers. They are motivated by set goals and they learn to strive to achieve them, and their self-esteem is enhanced because they see their progress. They know they are really learning. They also get good review on the basic material they learn so they are more confident that they are really learning it, and then they have tests that further prove they did.
126. "They see that there is an end in sight, they see the set goal ahead of finishing one thin workbook at a time, and they learn to work at achieving their own personal goal at their own pace. They are personally encouraged with each accomplished goal, and they have vision for the full course ahead of them. There is no competition, but everyone is making steady progress and enjoying learning, and that's all that counts. This workbook program, like others, is self-contained. It simply offers the self-teaching topics, the exercise drills and then the review and testing. One major benefit and quality we need is that different age and grade level children can be successfully schooled at the same time. I see great fruits in our kids who use it, in that they really enjoy their schooling!
127. "Having personally visited many Homes in the past, having teachers' seminars and talking to many of our Family teachers and parents, I can sure understand the difficulty of sufficiently home schooling our multitude of kids, especially now in smaller Homes, with lots of moving, changes in personnel, having to raise funds and support a Home. In many Homes the mothers are good teachers, it's just that they keep having new babies each year and still have the responsibility to school all the many other kids they have, and they can hardly manage. It would break my heart before to hear of some children in South America who hadn't yet learned to read as well as they should, just because they had not been schooled sufficiently. They could speak two or three languages and were plenty smart; their schooling just lacked consistency and routine, even in the basics.
128. "I know that not every adult in the Family is a teacher, and that the Homes are simply very, very busy. Yet if the Family could only learn that home schooling is not insurmountable, as long as someone is really dedicated to making it happen, that is the first step. Home schooling does not take a lot of time or even a big curriculum, but it does take consistency and oversight and commitment to see that it is taken care of. It also takes imagination and vision--the ability to see schooling opportunities in everyday situations. The time you allot to scholastics study should be according to the minimum requirements outlined in the Charter, and the other learning can be incorporated in other ways of learning by doing--even when witnessing, traveling, cooking, viewing video documentaries, and in daily Word time and devotions. These home schooling how-to's are covered very well in the Raise 'em Right book and the Home Educators and other educational pubs from secular sources that we have put out."
129. (Note: God willing, two more FSMs should be coming to you fairly soon: "Childcare Comments and Suggestions #3," with testimonies from our Family about schooling, parenting, small Homes and witnessing, and "Growing Up Witnessing!" with testimonies and practical tips from teens, YAs and SGAs on including schooling while living a fulfilling life of witnessing. Also EDX [Educational Excerpts] #5, "Getting Started with Home Schooling," and more soon-coming EDXs, provide very helpful suggestions and testimonies from Christian home schoolers with big families. We pray these will be a help to you.)
130. "In order for home schooling to really work, the next step after commitment is that our Family parents and teachers definitely need some kind of a plan and program to follow, a vision and goal. If it seems some families are having difficulty keeping their kids inspired and learning and making marked progress, then nothing succeeds like the success of a structured System program like the CLE.
131. "There are also local language workbook series that are very good academically, such as we found in Brazil some years ago. Provided our teachers and students work consistently, even if slowly, through the course, choosing the good and eschewing whatever they prefer to skip over, these workbook series provide an excellent education. National children can read, write and school in their own language, learn about their own history and culture, and benefit from System-approved curriculum and workbooks without ever having to attend local schools. Still, it takes the same initiative, funding or provisioning, and the important investment of a dedicated teacher or parent's time in order to provide an adequate education through a local language series.
132. "We can learn a lot from the good methods some System educators have tried and proven. We need all the help we can get! It seems we could benefit from using some of these secular educational approaches, like motivating the student to learn with set goals to work towards, like six-week tests and scores, end-of-the-semester or end-of-the-year progress reports, and rewarding those who press in and apply themselves with honors or praise--or some special event like a witnessing trip to anticipate. The children would learn and realize themselves that their efforts are rewarded with good results, that their education is what they invest in it, that those who strive can win and overcome, and that there are some kind of personal consequences if they don't meet the expected mark.
133. " I think one major weakness is that more of our children need to learn to apply themselves at learning and study and concentration, and we need to do more to motivate them to do so. We haven't had established goals and provided that self-motivation in their schooling program, so they don't see real solid results from their study. It takes mind discipline, study and concentration to learn the times tables, to figure out math problems, to write an essay, to pass grades and persevere. Those were some of the major 'tests of our faith' when we adults were growing up, but that doesn't mean that schooling should be grueling for our Family kids! Education in the Family can be a blast! It should be full of fun and surprises and varied, on-the-go learning opportunities that we never had as kids!
134. "But you can't school undisciplined minds and untrained brains, and sorry to say, that's what our teachers have had to work with in many cases. Some kids are not only behind scholastically, but much worse, they are not even interested in learning. When that happens, and the kids lose the vision and desire to learn, it can be devastating to their spiritual growth as well, as then they look to their Word and devotions time as boring and unchallenging too. They have little vision for learning because they have not been challenged, their minds lack consistent input and training, and they lack faith for schooling and learning scholastics.
135. "By giving our kids a better education at home by using a graduated, structured program so that they at least make progress and learn the basics well, I believe our kids would also learn some much-needed basic principles and skills that would benefit them overall. I am thinking of skills like concentration, comprehension and application of what they have read and studied, decision-making, goal-setting, time management, following directions, organization, listening, and self-discipline. These schooling programs like CLE do more than educate scholastically; they teach fundamental principles and skills that apply in many other areas of our children's lives.
136. "Thank the Lord, the new CVC course provides an excellent education for our teens and is very pubs-based. If our teens have learned these basic learning principles when younger, and they have the pubs on hand, they can even 'take themselves through college' with the CVC. With the wonderful spiritual training we have received from the Word, each parent and Home can now pray and ask the Lord how to meet this vital need and responsibility of giving our kids an adequate education, and He will surely answer and supply their every need."
Young Reinforcements to the Rescue!
137. (Mama:)One of the difficulties you face when trying to meet all your children's needs is keeping them inspired and challenged, and knowing how to channel their energy into something productive! This is especially true of larger families. One of the CROs, Victoria, recently sent in a testimony that I feel will be very beneficial to you! She talks about how all those little hands of the little children can be a help in many ways--and they love it!
138. (Victoria:) "Recently we were discussing the need for helping our larger families with their many young children, so they can be better cared for and so there is less strain and pressure on our sweet mommies and daddies. Many young people have a desire to go to pioneer fields and partake more in witnessing and winning the lost. They have faithfully helped with the care of their younger brothers and sisters or with the children of other families, and now feel the need to 'burn free' a little. This is understandable, but it has also left a very large hole in the area of childcare and the training of our younger children.
139. "When praying about this problem, it seemed that part of the solution was learning how to have some of our younger children rise up to help fill the need a little more, working a little more as the families that home school in the System do, where they pull on their older children to help with the younger ones, or have all of the children help in some way with some of the chores in the house.
140. "When discussing this, we realized that there were many things that we expected of our present YAs and senior teens when they were young that we don't expect of our young children today. Some of the YAs and senior teens had a lot of responsibility when they were young--caring for younger brothers and sisters, helping to cook meals and helping around the Home. They also were a very large part of the witnessing that was happening in their Home, along with the parents. In fact, you might say that when today's YAs were 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds, they made a lot of things possible. They were indispensable and were in no way thought of as a burden!
141. "Recently I was burdened about my younger sons, who are 6 and 8 years old, and their peers. They are full of energy and vitality, and they love to keep on the move. While my youngest can quite often be a rascal and a handful to handle, he also has a desire to help and be a blessing. I was concerned that he knew little about taking responsibility for things, and I thought back to my oldest son and what responsibilities I gave him when he was that age. It dawned on me that I'd never expect such things of my youngest sons today.
142. "I realized that the only difference was that I had not really trained my younger sons or given them the vision for being my helpers. I did notice, however, that whenever my youngest had been really naughty and wanted to show his repentance, he would do such things as make my bed, or go in the garden and find a plant to plant in a pot for me, or bring me breakfast in bed. So I saw that the desire to help and be responsible was there, but I just hadn't tapped into it.
143. "In trying to give others the vision to have our kids help more in the Home and to use what we learned about home schooling our kids who are now YAs and senior teens, I realized that the best thing to do was to do it myself. As I'm not always with my kids on weekdays, I decided to work with the kids on parent day. I really got the vision for doing this when one parent day a ball that the kids were playing with fell into a drain in the yard. One of the OCs tried to get it from the drain but he couldn't find the ball, so he started cleaning out some of the leaves and dirt to find it. Soon he and his friends were turned on about cleaning the drain, and it became a big project which involved, at one point, all of the children in the Home from 5 to 12 years old. They worked for about four hours, and the adults just guided them. They all worked really well together, and it was good for the JETTs and OCs to learn how to help and work with the young kids.
144. "Since then, I often do needed work projects with my kids on parent day, such as gardening, sweeping the driveway of all the fallen leaves, cleaning the fruit and vegetable shed, sorting the fruit and making jam or something from what needs to get used right away, etc. One day they even emptied the pool with buckets and then scrubbed down the entire pool. These jobs are a lot of physical work for the kids, that use up their excess energy, and they love it!
145. "The key is to not get into a project that they won't have time to finish or that will leave the home in a bind or messy if they lose the inspiration and can't finish it. Another important key is to remember that it's parent day and they want time with you; so it has to be a job that you can do together and that doesn't require a whole lot of your concentration, so that you can tune into the children. You need to be able to talk with them, ask them questions, answer their questions and so on. There are so many things that you can talk about with the kids while doing these projects, and it really strengthens your bond with them.
146. "It is also important to encourage them and praise them for helping, and let them know how everyone will be so happy when they're done, and how beautiful things will look. It always helps to have a little reward (a snack) for a job well done, even if the kids have to make it themselves. It tastes better that way anyway.
147. "I don't do this every week, but most parent days my children and I do have some type of 'let's make the house prettier' project, even if it is only cleaning up our own messy room, or finding a plant to put in the bathroom to make it look nice. Now my youngest son will often ask if we can 'do one of those fun projects on parent day, like sweep the driveway, so it's not a boring parent day.' They don't see these jobs as punishment or boring in any way. In fact, with the younger children that have not had to do a lot of things around the house and have not had jobs handed out as 'punishment,' it is an ideal way to get them turned on to helping around the house and to make work a fun experience for them.
148. "One time when with a group of YCs, one of them handed me their plate to wash. I asked, 'Why are you giving it to me?' She said, 'Because I'm too little to do it myself. My teacher always washes our plates.' So I said, 'I think we need to change and start treating you like big kids, and we'll start right now with you washing your plate. We'll do the dishes together.' All the kids piped up and said, 'Yeah, we're really big kids but they treat us like toddlers.' (This was the beginning of the 'YC Rights' movement in our Home. Ha!)
149. "From that day on, my son wanted to help with dishes, and one day when he had to run off right after eating and left his plate, he ran back and said, 'Mom, I'm sorry I can't wash my plate now, but if you do it for me, I'll wash yours tomorrow at lunch and dinner.' One time he even got offended that I went to wash his plate for him, and he said he was big enough to do it himself.
150. "On another occasion one of the YC boys was being a rascal and the teacher didn't know what to do with him, so she told him he'd have to go work with the handyman until he decided he would be a good boy again and listen to her. The handyman was cleaning the outside area where the trash cans are. The little YC boy went out and began hosing down the outside, scrubbing trash cans and so on, and he had a blast. When he came back in, he asked the teacher if it would be okay if, instead of getting discipline or lectures, he could just go outside and help the handyman when he's bored.
151. "It seems that there are so many things that the children would love to help with, if we make it fun for them. If they see work as fun when they are little, then it will carry over as they grow up. They will have the desire, as they grow older, to want to help and do their part, and they won't see work as a bore and a chore.
152. "Perhaps a key in keeping them happy about helping out at home is not making work assignments punishment, and while they are young, working by their side as much as possible. Some teachers in different Homes have had a lot of fun working with their group of kids as little 'swat teams,' and they stay together to clean different parts of the house or help on laundry and so on. So, 'What is that in thy hand?' Those little kids could be the reinforcements you've been praying for!"
153. (Mama:) God bless you as you faithfully care for, teach, train, shepherd and educate your little ones! I love you very much and am praying for you!
Copyright (c) 1998 by The Family